Women who suffer from severe symptoms of fibroids are familiar with the pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and pressure on their bladder or bowels. UFE, or uterine fibroid embolization, is a treatment to reduce these symptoms and shrink uterine fibroids.
UFE and Why It Works
UFE is normally performed by interventional radiologists, and 90% of women who undergo uterine fibroid embolization will see a reduction in their fibroid symptoms.
This minimally invasive procedure uses an X-ray camera called a fluoroscopy to send embolic agents or materials through a catheter to the targeted fibroid(s). Embolic agents are synthetic materials that block off blood flow to an artery, which in this case will cause the fibroid to shrink. Once the blood supply is cut off, the fibroid begins to shrink and die. As this occurs, the excessive bleeding and clots will cease, and any anemia will be resolved.
In addition, the fibroid tissue becomes much softer as it shrinks, which can help to significantly reduce pelvic pressure and pain. Only one small puncture is required to complete the entire procedure.
After UFE Treatment
Patients usually remain in the hospital overnight after a UFE treatment, though some may return home that very same day.
Pain and pelvic cramps are common following uterine fibroid embolization, and peak within the first 24 hours after the procedure. Any pain or discomfort can be easily managed using prescribed medication from your doctor. Other common side effects can include a low grade fever, fatigue, and nausea, but each should gradually improve within a week.
There is normally much less bleeding during the first menstrual cycle after UFE, and most patients can return to normal activity levels within one to two weeks. It is normal to have a bit of discharge or bleeding between periods, or even to miss a period or two.
Over the course of a few months after UFE, the fibroid will continue to shrink and soften. Within six months most symptoms should significantly improve and the amount of menstrual bleeding will stabilize.
If you are having severe pain and excessive bleeding during menstrual cycles, contact Denver Fibroids for an evaluation. UFE may be the perfect option for you!